Many years ago, far too many to count, my mom gave me a big glass jar of her homemade laundry soap. I took it with me to college and used it without really understanding what it was she was giving me other than some free soap. You see, when others make things for you they are giving you much more than the gift itself, this I have come to understand and really appreciate. With homemade anything, the giver is giving you time. They are giving you kindness. Most importantly, they are giving you a bit of themselves. This is one big reason among many others I feel homemade is better. And when you make something like a cleaning product you are giving yourself and your family such a wonderful gift. Then there’s the fact that when you make something yourself you know what’s in it. These days, this is quite a luxury! Two ingredients, you say? How is this possible? Let me show you.
Making things for yourself and your home does not have to be complicated. Companies want you to think that it is because then they get your money and then you get sucked in and those pretty packages sort of leap into your cart. I get it. I used to have that happen to me too! But when you look at the things we buy from stores and run your finger along the long list of foreign ingredients, it’s clear that maybe a little more intention in what we use throughout our day can go a long, long way towards healthier and more mindful living. With that in mind, I like making as many homemade products as possible when possible. I don’t take this path because I enjoy making messes in the kitchen and getting all scientific with cleaning products, I do it because it’s really much easier, more cost effective, and healthier than the alternatives out there. It is also pretty fun once you get the hang of it!
And as I have found, once you have a cleaning pantry of items at your disposal you can whip up these products in a matter of minutes. When you find yourself out of detergent or fabric softener, just get out your food processor and a few minutes later you are good to go with laundry without having to get all the kids in the car. What could have taken you well over an hour has now taken three minutes. I like this part a lot. Moral of this sort: homemade is best. Here are two wonderful homemade recipes you can take with you from my laundry room to yours.
Homemade Laundry Detergent Ingredients:
- 1 cup washing soda (I order ours here in bulk and store in labeled glass jars)
- 1 cup borax (I order ours here in bulk and store in labeled glass jars…and some info on borax if you want to read up and get all nerdy like me)
- 1 bar of pure castile soap, we love Dr. Bronner’s in rose, lavender and eucalyptus (found at a natural foods local market)
- 20 drops of essential oils (we only use Young Living)
This process could not be simpler. Chop up your bar of soap into quarter size pieces and place into your food processor, following with the washing soda and borax. Pulse until you get a fine powder and the castile soap is broken up into very small pieces. Add your essential oils and pulse a few more times. Use one tablespoon per load to the bottom of your washing machine before adding in your clothing. This should last you quite awhile. And guess what, I still have that same old jar from my mama use it for detergent till this day. That makes me happy.
Homemade Fabric Softener Ingredients:
- 1 cup epsom salt
- 30 drops of essential oils
And simpler yet is this natural fabric softener recipe. Just add your ingredients to a small mason jar and shake. Done! Add one tablespoon to the bottom of your washing machine before adding your clothing.
Note: this is much safer than fabric softener that you can find in most stores. Did you know fabric softener is one of the most toxic things you can bring into your home? We had so many problems with it when Theo was a baby due to eczema and after reading up on ways to help his skin, I threw all our store bought fabric softener away and started making my own without the harsh chemicals that was bad for both our skin and the environment. You can read more about this here if interested.
A few more tidbits:
- White vinegar – Use this as a rinse (1/2 cup or so) to get the excess detergent off and dissolve the salts. This is also a great way to help keep your whites white. I add this to the bleach compartment of our washing machine.
- One neat thing about these recipes is that you can customize them to your liking by adding different combinations of essential oils. I tend to use ones that reflect the season, so below I have a fun little list of oils that I like to use and what season they correspond to:
- Summer: Lime, Rosemary, Lavender, Citronella & Lemongrass
- Autumn: Clove, Orange, Cinnamon & Patchouli
- Winter: Peppermint, Frankincense, Wintergreen & Eucalyptus
- Spring: Geranium, Rose, Lavender, Lemon, Bergamot & Chamomile
- You can read about the beauty of line-dried clothes here.
- If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils, head here.